Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR)

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Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR)


Our Work North Korea Youth Programs

Our Work

  • Advocacy & Campaigns
  • North Korean Youth Programs
  • Public Education
  • Refugee Rescue

North Korea Youth Programs

North Koreans escape their country with little knowledge of the modern world and are unfamiliar with the fundamental aspects of a
democratic society. Many youth arrive in South Korea illiterate and unable to exercise their new civil liberties. They face tremendous
challenges in adjusting to South Korea's competitive and modern society—struggling with linguistic and cultural differences, discrimination,
lack of social support systems, and the lasting effects of past traumatic experiences. These differences can hinder their success at school and
can result in many discontinuing their education, making it difficult to find employment.

Recognizing these needs, NKHR has run education programs for North Korean youth since 1999. Our programs provide academic assistance,
encourage creativity and critical thinking, and build leadership skills. Topics range from civic engagement, to career guidance, to democracy
and human rights. To help overcome discrimination, and to assist North Koreans' integration into South Korean society, NKHR's education
programs also foster friendships and relationships between North and South Koreans. Each program is individually tailored to address
specific challenges faced by North Korean youth, while also reinforcing our other North Korean youth programs.

NKHR also offers monthly scholarships to North Korean students to support and encourage their commitment to education. We help fund
students' tuitions or living expenses when they are unable to obtain assistance from the government, including for internships abroad. We
also help students pursue scholarships and internships from other private and academic institutions.

Many of NKHR's former students are now college graduates and are pursuing meaningful careers and post-graduate studies in both South
Korea and abroad. Some have become active advocates for improved human rights in North Korea. NKHR is shaping a generation of leaders
who will play a unique role on the Korean peninsula. When Korea is reunified, these leaders will help shape the economic and political future
of their homeland.

    • The 26th Hangyoreh Winter School for Nor… The 26th Hangyoreh Winter School for North Korean Youth By Joo Ri Choi, Program Officer, Education Team From January 5 to 21, 2015, NKHR—in conjunction with Community Chest of Korea and Korea Hana Foundation—held the 26th session of Hangyoreh Winter School for North Korean Youth at the Institute for Unification Education. The school was attended by a total of 25 students: 13 North Korean defectors and 12 students born outside of Korea to North Korean parents—in China, for example. The students were taught and mentored by a group of 8 volunteers. Many of the students this year did not know the Korean language well, and among the 13 students from North Korea, a third had been settled in South Korea for only 4 months or less. The Hangyoreh School provided classes in math, English and Korean languages, and democratic citizenship. Lessons were divided into morning and night sessions, with free study hours for students to revise and do their homework. The students also participated in a number of extra-curricular activities. Realizing that many of the students struggled with higher levels of education because they lacked the foundational skills and concepts, we planned our lessons to provide them with a strong knowledge of basic concepts. For example, we taught simple equations and linear functions so that students could develop strong mathematical foundations. English lessons focused on strengthening the students’ grammar and vocabularies. We provided two separate classes for the Korean language and democratic citizenship lessons to fit the needs of our different students: the 13 North Korean defectors and the 12 students born outside of Korea to North Korean parents. The former group focused on learning to express their opinions with confidence and clarity, and the latter group focused on learning the various aspects of the South Korean culture. Besides daily lessons, the students at Hangyoreh Winter School also engaged in fun extra-curricular activities such as handicrafts, dodge ball, and obstacle courses. The students and volunteers even took a short trip to Ga-pyung and Nami Island on the last weekend of the Winter School. Through these activities and trips, the students and volunteers were able to get to know each other better. The theme of the 26th session was to develop “good habits.” Although three weeks was not a long time, we believe our lessons encouraged the students to develop good long-term habits of self-motivation and study. Initially, students complained about the harsh schedules and demanding rules, but they eventually began to appreciate our efforts and the reasons behind the rules. By the end, we saw improvements in their attitude and their initiative to learn and connect with their peers. Below are letters we received from Hangyoreh students this year: Hello! Thank you for teaching us. I appreciate your hard work. You almost stayed up all night, led the morning exercise session, and taught us well. Now I don’t want to leave you because I got so intimate with you teachers. I learned a lot through Hangyoreh School. In the future, I want to be a person who can give courage to others like you did to us. Happy new year and many blessings! When you asked me to make a presentation in front of people, I didn’t have confidence and I was afraid. However, after doing it once, I got a confidence that I could do better next time. Now I know why you wanted me to try first. I promise you not to say “no” before I take any steps. I will face many things in Korea with confidence so that I can overcome difficulties. Thank you. See details
    • NKHR Leadership Program goes to Washingt…  Learning and understanding what difference means Miri Cha Program Officer, Education Team   In July 2015, nine college students—six North Korean students resettling in South Korea, and three South Korean students—participated in NKHR’s Washington Leadership Program. The students spent three weeks in Washington D.C. and New York learning about democracy and sharing their experiences as North Korean youth resettling in South Korea. This year was the third year of the Washington Leadership Program.   In preparation for this year’s trip, the students spent three months taking classes about Korean history, democracy, market economies, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it relates to North Korea, and the leadership of South Korea and the United States.   We arrived in Washington D.C. on July 3, right on time to spend July 4, Independence Day of the United States, in the capitol. We prepared sandwiches and hurried to the Lincoln Memorial early in the morning to enjoy nationwide fireworks and commemorate the day. Throughout the day we toured the many memorials such as the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The fireworks finally started at 8:00 p.m. As the booming fireworks went on, the roar of Americans cheering “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” grew louder and buzzed across the Memorial. The NKHR students later remarked that American patriotism caused them to reflect on their own patriotism.   We visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum the following day. The museum helped the students vividly feel and understand the Holocaust, which until then we had only read about in books. We shared our thoughts, comparing the Holocaust’s concentration camps to North Korea’s modern-day political prison camps.   The next day was Monday and the educational portion of the program began. Over the course of a week and a half, the students visited a number of institutions such as the U.S. Capitol, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the National Endowment for Democracy. They participated in lectures about leadership, the structure of the U.S. government, and American democracy and citizenship. These lectures raised important questions about democracy: What is democracy and why is it so important? What freedoms do I enjoy as a citizen, and what responsibilities come with it? What are the elements of sustainable democracy?   Many lectures also focused on foreign policy and international relations. The group learned about American foreign policy on North Korea and institutional changes in Eastern Europe.   These lectures also helped the students develop analytical skills and critical thinking, as unlike many of the lectures the students had grown accustomed to, these lectures were discussion-based. The students also engaged in discussions about issues important to Korea and unification such as national security, education, domestic politics, foreign relations, and the economy.   This year, the students were also invited to a special event at the South Korean embassy. They met the Ambassador of South Korea to the United States, Mr. Ahn Ho-young. Despite his busy schedule, Ambassador Ahn showed special interest in each student. He asked questions about their lives in North Korea and encouraged each student to become leaders when North and South Korea are reunified. After meeting Ambassador Ahn, the students had a special discussion about foreign policy and economic relationships between South Korea and the U.S. with several officials from the embassy who work on reunification and economic issues.   The students complemented their academic lessons by giving back to the community and helping to serve breakfast to the homeless. It was important learning experience for them—at first, the students appeared to hold negative impressions about the homeless, but they soon realized that homeless people are not different from them.   In addition to the two weeks in Washington, D.C., the students also spent a few days in New York City visiting the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and Open Society, and touring Manhattan.   The students developed important skills from their three-week leadership program. I witnessed them mature. They learned that people have many different opinions, and that engaging with different opinions can strengthen their own. They also developed a sense of tolerance and understanding for one another.   In its own way, the trip became a small reunification of North and South Korea on its own for the six students from North Korea and the three students from South Korea. One of the most significant moments came as we walked together after a long day in New York City. Together, we sang songs from the students’ youths in North Korea. In that moment, I felt that unification could not be too far away, as long we learn to recognize, tolerate, and accept differences among one another.         [이 게시물은 최고관리자님에 의해 2015-12-07 19:23:18 bbs_active_news에서 복사 됨] See details